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Shade 8.5 due in Spring
e-frontier today announced that it plans to offer a Universal Binary version of its Shade 8 software for Intel-based Macs. The company said it would deliver Intel support along with other numerous features as free update to users of the 3D graphics toolkit, which offers both Bezier curve/surface modeling and sophisticated rendering. Due this Spring, the free upgrade will also bring export capabilities to QuickTime VR as well as the ability to import/export sound files, a new path constraints plugin, and a FogPlus plugin for advanced fog effects. The company said that users could see performance increase on the new Intel-based Macs of almost 200 percent. Shade 8.5 will also deliver an improved interface. It will be released in the Spring; version 8 is available in Standard ($200) and Professional ($900). Upgrades start at $100 for registered users and $150 for owners of Poser.
Livid ships Union 2.0
Livid Instruments has unveiled Union 2.0, its all-in-one live video-mixing studio software that now offers Mac compatibility. Union features undreds of effects, live video inputs, and complete MIDI integration. Version 2.0 includes the means to scratch, mix, control, create, perform, and record cutting edge visuals in real-time. The update also offers four effects layers per channel; integrated MIDI templates; a clip sequencer; a larger clip bank; effects triggers; easy-to-use LOF's; and "Elements" for custom plug-ins. The company also released its Batch Export Utility 1.2 as a free download, offering a simple Mac OS X program for re-compressing and resizing a folder for QuickTime media to a different format. Union 2.0 is available for $300 (system requirements were unavailable).
iTunes U should be changed
While Apple's recently introduced iTunes U has become a useful tool for professors and students at many universities, there are some key deficiencies, according to Infoworld columnist Jon Udell. Although iTunes U works with the most popular digital media player--the iPod--the service leaves out a large population, as non-iPod users would have to alter the file format to playback iTunes U content--something Udell says most people will not know how to do. The column also says that iTunes U uses a URL format that is difficult to share: the podcast URLs cannot be easily copied and pasted in order to share it with others, according to his column. "The Web was first conceived as a means of academic collaboration [and] blogging and podcasting represent the long-awaited fulfillment of that dream. Universities are natural allies of the Web, sharing the values of accessibility and open discourse[;] but the iTunes relationship strikes a discordant note."
Studiometry 3.2.1 released
Oranged.net Software today released version 3.2.1 of Studiometry, its organizational tool for studios and freelancers. The software is designed for companies to organize, plan, invoice, track and create with Client and Project data. Version 3.2.1 adds more powerful employee permission controlling, iCal syncing for Mac OS 10.3 systems, and faster network syncing while editing items in the main window. Users can limit employee's ability to view rates, and the update adds a "totalincurrency" tag for invoices and reports. Studiometry 3.2.1 correctly logs out current employees when quitting, and syncs multi-line addresses between Address Book and itself. Studiometry 3.2.1 is available for $150 for a single-user license, while upgrades are priced at $30. Studiometry 3.2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Mozilla has released Firefox 220.127.116.11, a stability and security update for the web browser. New in Firefox is improved support for Mac OS X, International Domain Name support for Iceland (.is), fixes for several memory leaks, and several security enhancements. The new Firefox is a free download requiring Mac OS X 10.2 or greater. Earlier this week, Mozilla released SeaMonkey 1.0, a final release of the software that bundles a web browser and email client, as well as a WYSIWYG web page composer and an IRC chat client.
Video2SWF ($45) is a program for converting video files into streaming Macromedia Flash files. Features include output of Macromedia Flash movie and video files, HTML files and self-executables; support for many audio, video, and image file formats; customizable players; the ability to batch convert multiple files at once, and more. [Download - 6.2MB]
WebnoteHappy Lite (free) is an application that allows the user to write a note for any web page that interests them, creating a bookmark in the process. The "webnotes" can be browsed to find web pages that matter. WebnoteHappy works on all major web browsers with Mac OS X Tiger, featuring NetNewsWire integration, streamlined UI, importing/exporting with XBEL, and more. [Download - 176KB]
NeoOffice (free) is a full-featured set of office applications for Mac OS X. NeoOffice integrates dozens of native Mac features and can import, edit, and exchange files with other office programs such as MS Office. NeoOffice includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs for Mac OS X 10.3 or higher on a PowerPC Mac (support for Intel Macs is expected in summer 2006). [Download - 127MB]
Belle Nuit Subtitler 1.7.5 ($120) is a program to spot, edit, and render subtitles for video editing, DVD authoring, and digital cinema. The subtitles can be imported to Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress, Avid DS and Final Cut Pro for editing, and can be sent to Adobe Encore DVD, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Sonic Producer, and Sonic Scenarist for authoring. New in Subtitler 1.7.5 is a small timeline with audio waveform, added audio scrubbing, improved DVD rendering, added importing of Cavena and Chetah files, and bug fixes. [Download - 3.5MB]
HTTP Scoop 1.2 ($18) is an "HTTP Sniffer" for Mac OS X that captures all types of HTTP traffic, allowing the user to see exactly what goes on between the client and the server. HTTP Scoop acts passively, with no proxy needed, and can capture conversations between other machines on the same hub or over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. New features include simpler licensing, several bug fixes and the ability to view captured images from within the application. [Download - 1MB]
Apple to combat AIDS
U2's Bono may partner with Apple on a new red iPod in the near future to help promote a new project to battle AIDS. The charity is designed to raise money to help finance the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in Africa, and hopes to convince the world's largest companies to release special red-branded products while offering a portion of the profits to the fund. The news sparked rumors that Bono may have applied leverage in his relationship with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to persuade the executive to release a product red-branded iPod. Last week the rumors were fuelled when Bono announced an initial list of corporations that have agreed to specially design merchandise for the cause which included Gap, Converse, Giorgio Armani, and American Express. Confirming one rumor, American Express recently announced a new, no-fee credit card in the U.K. dubbed American Express RED3. For every pound spent on the card, American Express has promised to donate a minimum of one percent to the Product Red charity.
Notebooks vs desktops
Retail notebook sales surpassed desktop sales in 2005 in the U.S. According to CNET News.com, notebook sales took up 50.9 percent of the market, while desktops garnered 49.1 percent. The U.S. only accounts for about nine percent of the market worldwide, and the figures did not include large sales to corporations or direct sales from computer companies. The report says that low prices, higher performance, and the availability of wireless networks are driving notebook sales, which previously were not expected to surpass desktop sales until 2008. Intel has benefitted greatly from this " fundamental shift in consumer buying behavior", as notebook CPU sales have increasingly padded Intel's profits since the launch of the Intel Centrino mobile-chip bundle, according to the report. The new Core Duo processors-- featured in Apple's new MacBook Pro notebooks--are expected to fuel the trend.
Refurb iBooks, iMac G5s
Apple and Amazon are offering discounted models of its iBooks and iMac G5, including the refurbished 1.33GHz 12-inch iBook G4 for $800 from the Apple Store. The refurb model features 512MB of memory, a combo drive, a 40GB drive, built-in Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless networking, and other enhancements such as a Scrolling Trackpad and Sudden Motion Sensor. Apple is offering the larger 14-inch iBook for $1050, which offers a faster 1.42GHz processor and larger 60GB drive. A refurb previous-generation 17- and 20-inch 2GHz iMac G5 is only $950 (512MB/160GB) and $1,150 (512MB/250). Apple is also offering refurb 17- and 20-inch refurb iSight-enabled iMac G5s (with Front Row) for $1,100 (512MB/160GB) and $1,450, respectively--higher than Amazon's $1,350 after-rebate price on the new 20-inch iMac G5 with iSight and Front Row. Refurb Power Mac G5s are still available for $1,550 (dual-2GHz), $1,700 (dual-core 2GHz), $2050 (dual-2.5GHz), $2,150 (dual 2.7GHz or dual-core 2.3GHz), and $2,800 (two dual-core 2.5GHz CPUs). Apple Apple-refurbished Macs carry a 1 year warranty and are available with free standard shipping.
New Edirol products
Roland has introduced two new Edirol products, the UA-4FX and the R-09. The UA-4FX is a portable USB audio/MIDI interface with low-latency audio and MIDI performance, 24/96 audio resolution, and built-in effects. The UA-4FX is Mac/PC cross-platform compatible and supports WDM, ASIO 2.0, and Mac OS X Core Audio formats. Cakewalk's SONAR LE recording software and Edirol's Virtual Sound Canvas plug-in (PC) are bundled with the UA-4FX (availability and pricing was unavailable).
Tunecore artists on iTunes
A new service has emerged allowing artists to publish their own tracks and albums on Apple's iTunes Music Store, as well as RealNetworks' Rhapsody service without the need for record labels. "TuneCore is a music delivery and distribution service that gets music you created (even cover versions) up for sale on iTunes and Rhapsody without asking for your rights or taking any money from the sale or use of your music." Artists get 100 percent of what iTunes and Rhapsody pay for tracks, and artists keep all rights/ownership of their music. Tunecore charges customers an annual maintenance and storage fee of $8 per Album, EP, or Single, as well as one-time individual delivery fees of $1 per Album, EP, or Single. The service allows artists to publish their works via iTunes U.S., Canada, Japan, U.K./Europe, and iTunes Australia. Users can upload music via the website or mail a CD to tunecore, and the company offers an online art tool to create custom album covers.
Panic has released Transmit 3.5, an update to its Mac OS X FTP, SFTP and WebDAV file transfer client. Transmit 3.5 adds the ability to edit any remote file in any aplication and have the changes automatically updated on save, SOCKS proxy support, droplets, favorites import/export/search, a redesigned and expanded Get Info window, better synchronization features, and more. It is also available as a Universal Binary for compatibility with Intel Macs. Transmit 3.5 is a free update for all existing Transmit 3 owners, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or above. A new license can be purchased for $30.
Kanguru Solutions announced the release of its external Serial ATA and USB2.0 combination hard drive. The Kanguru Quicksilver features both USB 2.0 and SATA connectivity with a hard drive transfer rate of 1.5GB per second, capacities up to 500GB, and an enclosure that secures the device from up to 200 Gs of shock. The hot swappable drive requires Mac OS X 10.2 and above. Kanguru Quicksilver is priced at $140 for 80GB, with 160GB ($170), 250GB ($200), 320GB ($250), 400GB ($360), and 500GB ($530) versions available.
Quake 4 Mac requirements
Aspyr Medida today released the final system requirements of Quake 4, the long-awaited sequel to Quake II that enlists gamers in the role of Matthew Kane, a member of the legendary Rhino Squad. Quake 4 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later; a PowerPC G4, G5, or Intel-based chipset; a 1.67GHz or faster CPU; 512MB or higher of memory; and 64MB or more of video memory (VRAM). Built on id Software's DOOM 3 technology, Quake 4 also features fast-paced multiplayer competition modeled after the speed, style and feel of Quake III Arena. "As Matthew Kane, players attempt to penetrate deep into the heart of the Strogg war machine and engage in a series of heroic missions to destroy the barbaric alien race. Quake 4 begins only moments after the events of Quake II, with the Earth's fleet launching a massive offensive to the planet Stroggos." Quake 4 for Mac is available for pre-order for $50.
In brief: MacMiniColo and SeeFile are teaming up to offer pre-packaged, supported server configurations at the MacMiniColo facility in Las Vegas; initial purchase costs $1000, with monthly $50 payments entitling the purchaser to 5GB of monthly bandwidth, 24/7 uptime and remote control reboot software... Vvidget 10.4.1-- the chart and graph system for Mac OS X--is now a Universal binary, with the addition of online training videos, access to manual axis limit settings, and new user level access to autoscale features... NOTMTV is conducting an independent, investigative report into whether or not the recent hullabaloo (including a lawsuit against Apple) over the iPod's contribution to hearing loss is a valid... iPodResQ is offering its iPod nano high-capacity battery program, in which iPodResQ provides the customer with same-day service for iPod nano battery replacement... the iPod nano may soon replace the iPod shuffle, as rumors of a 1GB Nano version are in the works.
360 Degrees of AAPL
TheStreet today featured Apple in its second "360 Degrees" column, as selected by its readers. Columnist Cody Willard writes: "iPod is definitely not going to match its "growth" from last year, but Apple's not going to be sitting still (and it'll still sell tens of millions of iPods this year). The halo effect will be in overdrive throughout 2006 and into 2007." Steve Birenberg added that "Apple is one of the only really big-cap stocks that offers the prospect for sustained 20 percent-plus earnings growth over a multiyear period, which is sustained on top of the huge earnings gains being driven recently by the success of the iPod." Alan Farley, however, believes that early warning signs are in place to let go of Apple: "I would sell Apple as it bounces into the January 19 gap at $82, in anticipation of a breakdown below this week's low at $70.87." Birenberg also touches on Apple's potential revenue, should the company unveil a mobile handset as many industry followers anticipate.
iTunes fashion show
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld will close New York Fashion Week on February 10 with his Fall/Winter '06 line, to be made available as a Podcast on the iTunes Music Store. The debut of the Karl Lagerfeld/Lagerfeld Collection lines will be the first fashion show to be made available on iTunes. An Apple fan, Lagerfeld is using Final Cut Studio to enable the production, which will feature the runway show taped in HD and edited on-site using Final Cut Pro, as well as Aperture to compare the images to be shown on the podcast. The fashion show will be available on iTunes that evening and will link to the fashion house's website.
Recosoft is shipping PDF2Office 3.0. PDF2Office recreates the original construction and layout of the PDF document-- forming paragraphs, applying styles, extracting images, creating tables, etc.- enabling the user to recover the data stored in PDF documents for use in a word processor. Version 3.0 includes over 200 enhancements and new features, such as converting PDF files to MS PowerPoint files for Mac or Windows; instantly creating PowerPoint slideshows; PostScript for matching, substitution and auto-sizing; Rosetta compliancy; a Document Inspector to allow viewing of the file's metadata, document restrictions, and fonts; the ability to password-protect PDF documents, and more. PDFOffice v2.1 owners are eligible for a free upgrade to version 3.0, which costs $60-130.
KeyPhantom USB recorder
DesignREM today launched the KeyPhantom USB Corporate, a full-speed USB keylogger with 512Kb of memory that provides real-time recording ability for USB based keyboards. The KeyPhantom can record 500,000 keystrokes, and is roughly the same size as a standard USB extension cable. Data is stored using either 56- or 128-bit encryption. The KeyPhantom can be used with a USB keyboard and is compatible with Mac OS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows. Using an appropriate firmware upgrade, the device can be configured to record USB traffic from other hardware items such as bar code, thumb print, or magnetic stripe readers. A password encrypted entry menu protects the data stored inside the device. The KeyPhantom USB Corporate is available for $200.
Apple Aperture help
Apple has put out a call to professional photographers, seeking help with its RAW imaging program Aperture. According to Rob Galbraith, Apple has requested that professionals submit RAW image files for testing and improving the Aperture program. Apple said "In a ongoing effort to improve and refine the handling of RAW images in the Mac OS, Apple is interested in working with a broad range of sample images from professional photographers. If you have images that you feel exemplify particular aspects of RAW handling that require improvement, you can submit these to Apple for testing and evaluation purposes. Please be assured that any image content you send us will be used for internal testing purposes only. None of these images will be distributed to the public, used in any marketing capacity whatsoever, or included in public demos. They will be used exclusively to test and evaluate RAW image processing, with the goal of delivering improved RAW support for your camera in the future."
FMP makes Codie finals
FileMaker today announced that FileMaker Pro 8 has been selected as a finalist for a 2006 Codie Award, the premiere annual software industry awards selected by members of the Software Information Industry Association (SIIA). FileMaker Pro 8--the easy-to-use database software--is a finalist in the "Best Database Management Solution" category. "The 21st Annual Codie Awards continue the tradition of honoring the best of the software, information and education technology industries," said Ken Wasch, SIIA President. "When one considers the number of outstanding companies that competed this year, being named a Codie Awards Finalist is a significant achievement." FileMaker Pro is used by workgroups within the Fortune 100, the top 250 school districts in the U.S., and each of the top 50 U.S. undergraduate colleges. FileMaker Pro 8 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Mac OS X 10.4, and is priced at $300.
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